In a highly-anticipated early season matchup, Dwyane Wade made his return to South Florida to take on the Miami Heat for the first time in his career.
Mobbed by cameras and media personnel upon his entry into the arena, Wade received a standing ovation from the Heat staff who applauded him on the 13 great years he gave to the organization that included the only three World Championships in Heat history.
The experience of returning to a team or city in which you were it’s biggest star for so long as an opponent would be an awkward experience for anyone, even for the usually calm-demeanored Wade.
Via Tim Bontemps/Washington Post: “Weird game,” Wade said after scoring 13 points to go with seven rebounds and four assists as the Bulls won 98-95. “One of the weirdest games I’ve ever played in.”
Wade’s Chicago Bulls squad would defeat his former team 98-95 despite Wade’s “weird” night.
During the starting lineups, Wade was introduced last for the Bulls and Heat announcer Michael Baiamonte, who announced Wade’s name for the past 13 years with his famous inflection, did the same this night as the Miami crowd roared and applauded Wade, giving him a standing ovation.
Wade’s performance during the game didn’t deserve much applause, however, as he scored 13 points only shooting 5 for 17 from the floor on the second night of a back-to-back. Despite this bad shooting night, in typical Wade fashion, when it mattered most, he delivered.
With 13.7 seconds left in the game and the Bulls up two points, Wade stepped to the foul line to all but ice the game for his team, and he did, sinking two huge free throws to push the lead to four points.
In the end, the Bulls won, and Wade was just happy to get the game over with as he described his workman-like attitude on what happened this off-season that brought him to Chicago.
“I thought it was an opportunity I would be there forever,” Wade said. “But s— happens.”
“And, when s— happens, you gotta be prepared to [move on]. I found out very quickly that this is a business.”
The final business of the night was having to address his relationship with Heat President Pat due to the fact that the two didn’t depart on the best of terms.
Wade brushed off the situation by saying that he had yet to open an email sent by Riley that day. Riley had had the email in his drafts for awhile, but had been reluctant to send it because he wanted to address the situation with Wade properly.
Riley has recently admitted that when LeBron James left to go back to Cleveland in 2014, he should have given Wade a max contract just like he gave Chris Bosh. He also said that he will always love Wade.
Moral of the story: Wade should still be in a Heat uniform with the opportunity to retire in Miami only playing for that franchise in his Hall-of-Fame career.
The world just doesn’t work out the way everyone would like sometimes, so we are where we are. Wade is playing for his childhood team and the Heat are looking back on what could have been. Basketball-wise, the Bulls are a contender in the East and the Heat are looking for answers as to how they can possibly fill the void of losing Wade to free agency and also making it known that Chris Bosh will not play for the team again.
This situation could and should have been avoided, but on Thursday night, they finally were able to get that first game out of the way, in a situation that has been weird for all involved.
Do you think it was a “weird” game, too? Let me know in the comments, or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3